Hair restoration commercials have been on television for several decades now, but male baldness is still a problem all around the world. It can be an embarrassing condition that leaves men feeling anxious or embarrassed over their appearance. It’s not just men who can suffer from thinning hair or loss, females can also have problems retaining their thick head of hair. The earliest treatments on the market were just for men, but as research and development in the industry have evolved, so have the options treating thinning hair. For many years, medications containing minoxidil and finasteride have been the go-to treatments for balding. While they have been shown to be effective at slowing down the loss of hair, there are no treatments or discoveries that can completely prevent or even reverse the condition.
New Developments in Treatment
Even though completely curing the condition of balding has not occurred, anyone who is concerned about their hair loss should take heart. There is more to treatments than preventative and treatment creams. In fact, it seems that the latest research is harboring big news about how balding treatment will work in the next few years. Being able to walk out of the house free from the cares of a bald spot or patchy thin area can be lifechanging for those who deal with thinning hair. So when is this big secret going to be revealed?
The new treatment options will involve 3D printing and stem cell research. Researchers want to move past the simple fix of medications and look toward more lasting ways of dealing with a loss of hair. The ultimate goal of the latest research efforts is to clone the actual hair of an individual and implant it into the scalp in unlimited quantities This is such a far cry from the hair transplants currently taking place for those who are plagued with serious balding or alopecia. As of now, the process has been to harvest hair follicles from healthy areas of the scalp and insert them into the balding or patchy areas. This is both time-consuming and limited in scope. It is also reserved for those with the most severe hair conditions.
Researchers and scientists assumed that hair would be a simple recreation since it is several wrapped strands of protein filaments. It doesn’t seem to have a purpose other than sitting on the scalp, growing, and not falling out. When it was broken down and researched, it was discovered that each strand of hair was the product of thousands of stem cells working together in the follicle to produce growth. As the body ages, these follicles become smaller and go dormant, taking a break from their production requirements. In this stage, a hair follicle transplant is needed to renew hair growth in that specific area. Hair may be taken from the back or underarm body hair locations, but the results are as pleasing as using the original hair from the scalp. It also prohibited to use someone else’s hair because it is quite unethical and illegal to purchase human organs. Small as they are, each hair follicle is its own functioning organ.
The Secret Development
In order to solve this dilemma of hair loss, growing new hair is the solution. As research continues to move in this direction, amazing new things are happening in the laboratory. With stem cell research being used for other areas of body health, this a promising new area of exploration in hair growth. Using stem cells from the individual helps minimize the risk the system will reject the implants of hair, as the body will already recognize the chemical and natural make-up of the cellular structure. Should this prove possible, scientists plan on starting ‘hair farms’ where hair follicles could be mass-produced to fill a patient’s need for a hair transplant. The hair would be grown from the stem cells taken from the patient’s blood or skin, and the follicles would be grown along a grid that mimics that patient’s natural hairline or pattern. It would make the hair transplant process more efficient and more effective. The current measure of hope for this project was the announcement by the International Society for Stem Cell Research that the procedure was successfully completed in mice.
Areas of Potential
The fact that the stem cells can prove beneficial in combatting balding is exciting, yet further research still needs to be done along the lines of prevention. There also needs to be more work done to help hair follicles retain their shape and the coloring properties associated with natural hair. However, the fact that serious attention is being paid to this embarrassing condition should be reason enough to celebrate.
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